Saturday Beer Review: Two Imperials in Clown Shoes

Clown Shoes (the brand name for Mercury Brewing of Ipswich, Mass.) is one of the more interesting breweries out there right now. I’ve really enjoyed most of their beers. I review two below: one I really like and one that didn’t do it for me at all.

Vampire Slayer Imperial American Stout

Appearance: Like an ideal stout: almost black with ruby highlights, lovely sustained tan head with very tight bubbles, and a nice syrupy residue on the side of the glass.  

Aroma: Malt is dominant with suggestions of tartness, burnt caramel, and a hint of cinnamon or cloves.  

Mouthfeel: The highlight of this beer: the mouthfeel is perfect, extremely smooth, warm and an ideal illustration of the way a good stout can actually be light on the tongue in spite of its apparently “heavy” appearance. Slightly astringency at the back of the tongue.  

Taste: Well balanced with creamy malt characteristics and sweetness offset by a nice bitter edge and a suggestion of citrus and spices.  

Drinkability: While I’m not always a fan of imperial styles (which tend to be overly dominated by alcohol), this is a well executed imperial stout that’s definitely worth a try.  


Blaecorn Unidragon Russian Imperial Stout

Appearance: Very dark brown with hints of ruby, opaque with a creamy tan head. In other words, exactly what a Russian imperial stout should look like.  

Aroma: Unfortunately the alcohol is so intense that other aromas are hard to pick up. There’s a hint of malt sweetness but that’s about it.  

Mouthfeel:Rather syrupy for my taste and it burns a bit in the mouth, not smooth as it should be. The alcohol is quite noticeable, more so than should be the case, even for this style.  

Taste: Overly sweet and intensely alcohol. Hard to pick out any specific flavors when the alcohol is so dominant. I did catch hints of burnt grains or chocolate but not very strong.  

Drinkability: I won’t have this beer again. The malt backbone isn’t enough to overcome the intense alcohol volume.  


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